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A Day In The Life Of A Cinematographer

Posted by: Dan Stoner Posted on

You’ll most likely have seen me on our YouTube channel. And on Instagram. And Facebook. And LinkedIn too. But presenting is just a small part of what I do at Viddyoze. My main job is actually behind the scenes – or behind the camera to be more exact. Here’s what I get up to on a typical day as a cinematographer.

6am

I say 6am but I usually get up earlier. I’m quite a restless soul and, in the evening, when I really should be winding down, I’m very awake. I wouldn’t describe it as being hyper, just buzzing (part of this has to do with being bipolar). Anyways, back to the morning. Once I’m up, I’m up. First on the agenda is a massive cup of coffee to shake off the sleep. Then feed the bunnies, Mufasa and Luna.

7am

An hour later and it’s time for me to check in – quickly – on social media, with emails and via Slack (mainly to see if Nindy’s messaged… again). Once I’ve caught up, I’ll get ready, which includes 20 minutes sorting out my hair (and no, this is not a joke). In all honesty, I find this part of the morning very calming – and it allows me to think about my workload for the day ahead without any distractions.

9am

I get into the office just before 9am, after a 50-minute drive from Manchester to our HQ in Preston. Typically it involves a pitstop at Starbucks for another caffeine fix (by now I am onto my third coffee of the day). I settle in, switch on the Mac and connect to the NAS, which is short for network-attached storage. I won’t bore you with the details but it’s an important piece of kit for collaborative video teams. Then I properly crack on with responding to emails and messages in Slack (yep, I can expect a couple of more messages from our head of content). And then I’m ready to get into it.

10am

An hour or so later the belly rumbles and I whip up 6–8 egg whites for breakfast. It’s paired with another coffee (four and counting). I hear you. This isn’t a ‘normal’ breakfast. True. But when I’m not recording videos, my other obsession is bodybuilding. But that’s a story for another day. Over the next couple of hours I’m busy chatting to colleagues, fleshing out ideas and planning shoots.

12pm

We use Trello in particular to manage our creative review process. It works very well because it’s super simple and intuitive to use. I spend most days reviewing our videos, which I’ve already fed back on during the initial editing stage. It’s often small but important tweaks that help make the edit in our videos sharper. Think audio adjustments, refinements to the grade, sense checking the content. It’s part quality control and part creative direction (which is also a key area of my job). It’s a very important part of the entire video production process.

1pm–5pm

Because no day is ever really the same, this part of my working days varies considerably – and that suits me to a t. It also reflects the nature of where we are as a business. We’ve been in a hyper-growth phase for over a year now – it’s busy and then some. Priorities change. New ideas pop up. You name it, it happens at Viddyoze. And I love it.

On an average afternoon I can be focused on overseeing and upskilling the team I head up – a young, ambitious and hungry crew of video editors, videographers and content creators – the next day I can be working with our optimization team on video ads, and the one after that I can be planning out bigger campaigns, such as feature-length documentaries, and, of course, shooting and fronting our YouTube content.

5pm

I usually look to leave the office at around 5pm, before which I’ll chat to the guys about the day’s activities and anything else on the horizon. On the drive back home I make time for audiobooks. I’m fascinated by WW2, so it’s typically something from that crazy period of time. The detail that goes into researching some of these audiobooks is insane and I love soaking it up.

6pm 

It’s time for the gym – a push, pull or legs session that’s followed by some cardio on the treadmill. This is a big part of my day – an opportunity to wind down and let off some steam. When I’m not catching up on MMA, it’s a good time to get in some work, too. Having no distractions helps keep me focused, so I’ll generally spend time reviewing some of our output.

7pm 

I get home and have a quick post-workout bite, which usually is a bowl of Coco Pops (there are benefits to high sugar foods after training). Then I crack on with dinner for the missus and myself. Chicken and broccoli is often on the menu. It’s quick and easy to make. Tasty. And, of course, fuel – all about the gains.

8pm

After entertaining the bunnies for half an hour or so – and being entertained by them – I’m back on the work laptop to finish to either jot down some new ideas, kill those red notifications on Slack and wrap up anything that may still be outstanding.

9pm

In theory, I should be relaxing by now. And try as I might, it’s the very point in the day where my mind starts thinking up all sorts of crazy ideas. I don’t mind. After all, this is what I live to do – imagine the extraordinary and make then bringing it all to life.